I’ve been setting aside a few minutes each day to be annoyed at people who don’t update their blogs. If you’re taking up space on the Internet, if you have an audience checking in for updates, darn it, finish what you start, people! I mean, look at this guy. Hasn’t missed a day since 1997. Now there’s a dilligent man. (Check out his video podcasts, too.)

But then I realized that I’m no better. I’ve always thought of this Blogger blog as a placeholder, a way to reserve my cool URL. A dress rehearsal for the marvelous, celebrated, real blog I’m going to write someday.

Bunk. I’m taking up space on the Internet. I’ve written a first entry (albeit a boring, preachy, holier-than-thou one). There could very well be some poor, misguided soul checking back to see if I’ve written anything else. Life is not a dress rehearsal. I have a blog, and I darned well better be updating it. So that’s what I’m doing now.

There’s another type of netiquette: email netiquette. Recently, a family member–okay, my dear ol’ dad–emailed me. Nothing that requried an urgent response; indeed, no actual questions for me. So I took my time answering it. It was, in fact, a reply to an email of mine that in turn required no answer. Just a plain ol’ “good roads and fair weather” message. A few days later, my dad reforwarded his missive to every email address he had for me. Every email I address I own, in fact. Clearly, he wanted a response.

My immediate reaction was annoyance. I would have written him back as soon as I had something pertinent to add, but that was up to me. The ball was in my court, and I didn’t need anyone dictating when to volley it. But my embètement rapidly faded, as I realized how totally cool my paternal correspondent’s action was. By reforwarding the message, he was saying, “No offspring of mine would be so oafish and thoughtless as to leave personal, lovingly written correspondence unanswered for 56 hours. My girl is made of better stuff than that. So I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it was just a simple oversight, or my bad for using the wrong email address in the first place.”

I answered my dad’s re-sent email before the end of the day. It didn’t require a response, but I wrote one anyway. Because you know what? I am made of better stuff than that.


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